Going back to the singles scene in Tel Aviv has reintroduced me to the “unbearable lightness of shallowness”—the obsession with sex, drugs, and the perfect gym body. I was comfortable in my relationship cocoon over the past few years, mainly because I got a rest from the never-ending desire to be liked by the people around me. Eric gave me everything I needed.
Like lots of other gays, I often find myself chasing after men who look like Greek gods. We all worship and admire perfect bodies, and that’s part of the reason so many of us aspire to physical perfection ourselves. It used to be that going to the gym and eating healthy were enough, but now many of us take advantage of waxing, hormones, plastic surgery, and other procedures. Some people have hard time accepting it, but I think that it’s part of our nature as human beings to be attracted things that look, smell, and feel good.
As I was returning to the dating game I realized that many gay men, including me, are in awe of hunks, but we’re reluctant to hit on them. Hitting on a hot guy can be scary for a couple of reasons:
1. We’re insecure about our looks and fear that we’re not in the same league.
2. We’re afraid of being rejected.
We look at hot guys and assume that they probably know they are hot and that other guys are attracted to them. Since they have the opportunity to say yes to guys who are equally as hot, we believe there’s not a slightest chance that they would look at us. We let our insecurities about our own looks prevent us from approaching someone we find attractive, saying things like, “Nah, he wouldn’t want me” or “I’m just not good enough for him.” In order to ease our insecurities we assume that he’s a snob, or a bitch, or whatever. In this situation the rejection happens in our head, with the hunk being labeled “the bad guy.” Because we were willing to give our love, we get to consider ourselves “good.”
And then there’s the fear of rejection from these hunks. When someone turns down your advances, it feeds your “I’m not good enough” feelings. Now, here’s my question: Should rejection be interpreted in this way? Is anyone who rejects someone else automatically considered cruel?
I’ve talked about this problem with guys who I think are hot, and guess what? The hot guys think that there are hotter guys who probably wouldn’t want them, and the hotter guys think that there are even hotter guys who probably wouldn’t want them. What I’m trying to say is that “hunk” is a subjective term. All of my female friends melt at the thought of Johnny Depp, but I think he’s ugly. On the other hand, I think that Duncan James is the hottest guy on the planet, but for other friends of mine he’s like ‘Meh’.
After putting a question mark over the word “hot” I wanted to know how high on my list being a hunk is. I found myself pursuing amazing-looking poster boys, but after I got them it was boring. After I had sex with them one time, the excitement of the chase was gone and I started looking for other things—and didn’t find them. I was eventually surprised to find out that these hunks weren’t right for me.
I decided to look for someone who was more than a body I worship in bed. Someone intelligent, interesting, caring, funny, and surprising. Someone I’d feel comfortable with and think of as my best friend. Someone whose values were in sync with mine, who was sensitive and smart and open to exploring my world as much as I wanted to explore his. So it’s true: You can’t judge a book by its cover. In other words, these qualities that I was looking for in a boyfriend are something you can’t see at first glance.
Some guys I know choose their next boyfriend based on how good he looks in his Facebook photos. They want to be part of a picture-perfect fantasy couple, with everyone commenting about how gorgeous they look together. If their life seems perfect to their Facebook friends, perhaps that would compensate for the insecurity they feel inside. They might find themselves chasing after guys like that until they’re in their 40s and 50s—or at least until they’re ready to give a chance to guys who are less than picture-perfect. Nobody is perfect. Not even us. So we might as well embrace that.
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